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One mother’s day my son brought home a water-colored page from pre-school with the following poem by Shel Silverstein:

Hug O’ War

I will not play at tug o’ war

I’d rather play at hug o’ war,

Where everyone hugs

Instead of tugs

Where everyone giggles

And rolls on the rug,

Where everyone kisses

And everyone grins

And everyone cuddles

And everyone wins.

I loved it so much, I framed it and it hung in our bathroom for years.

There is so much good that comes from hugs. Some have called it a handshake from the heart. The other day a lady my mother’s age said to me, “I just need to give you a hug.” She made my day. The hardest part about my DH no longer working from home is I miss our random passing that inevitably led to an all-consuming hug. (All consuming is another green term.)

Virgina Satir, the “mother of family therapy,” said, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” 

Medical research at University of North Carolina found that both blood pressure and levels of Cortisol, the hormone produced when we’re under stress, were significantly lowered (particularly in women) when subjects hugged their partners for at least twenty seconds. Hugs also lead to lower threat of heart disease because they de-stress the participants.

And my green reason to hug? Hugs don’t pollute the environment, they are organic, pesticide free, contain no preservatives, artificial ingredients and are 100% wholesome.  They don’t require batteries.

And, they convert low energy to high energy. In other words, they produce warmth. Green Thing recommends using human heat for warmth: “One way we can stop our planet from overheating is by underheating our homes. Heating uses more energy and creates more CO2 than anything else we do indoors so if you’re cold, leave the radiators off and wrap up in a jumper – or better still, with another person.”

Hugging is non-fattening, they can’t be stolen, taxed, or polluted. They can relieve pain and depression; they feel good and overcome fear.

So, what are you waiting for? Let go of the mouse, get out of your chair, and go hug someone! (Right now—don’t be shy.)